May 5, 2015:
This is s/v UNO, s/v Ally Cat and s/v Glass Slipper sailing together from Isla de Culebrita, Spanish Virgin Islands (SVI) to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
Since we’ve been cruising on Nancy Lu, we’ve enjoyed buddy boating! Our first experience with buddy boating was in the fall of 2011 when we sailed Nancy Lu along with s/v Adelaide sailed by Peter and Beth Niehoff down the east coast from Maine! We’ve had other great experiences with some very special people every year since then! As I came up with this little list, I thought of all those people and how they are examples of some of these reasons to love buddy boating that I have listed, even as recent as a few weeks ago. But for this blog, I’ll just use my most recent pictures and our most recent buddy boats ! Each reason we love buddy boating illustrated in this blog happened at some place during the span of time from April 19 (my first full day back in Salinas, Puerto Rico after my trip to Ft. Worth) to today in St. John, USVI!!
Here’s the in-no-way-exhaustive list:
#10 You Never Know When You Could Use A Little Help Solving A Boat Problem
This is Jacob from s/v UNO looking through our cockpit locker down into our engine room on Nancy Lu as his dad, Steve, is wedged in the engine room fishing an impeller fin out of the generator heat exchanger…the generator lives to run another day!
#9 There’s Always Someone To Talk To On The VHF Radio
Mark is probably talking to UNO, the sailing catamaran right behind him, as we sailed from Green Beach, Isla de Vieques, Spanish Virgin Islands (SVI) to Sun Bay, Vieques, SVI. We caught up with s/v Ally Cat there.
#8 Jam Sessions
Steve’s dad, Norm, is treating us to some after-dinner tunes with Steve playing along on our “Baby Taylor” at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico.
Another night while anchored in the harbor at the town of Dewey on Isla De Culebra, SVI, Cliff, temporary crew on s/v Glass Slipper, is jamming on our “Baby Taylor” with Steve. He had me singing a song he knew I would know the words to, “Amazing Grace”, with him at one point!
A young couple on s/v Baby Blue joined us that night!
#7 Reunions Here And There
We caught up with s/v Ally Cat for the first time since Samana, Dominican Republic at Sun Bay, Vieques, SVI. It was great to catch up with Kimberly and her daughter, Ally when I was invited over for coffee after Kimberly’s morning yoga!
The next day, we reunited with Rod and Deb from s/v Si Bella for the first time since Turks and Caicos over drinks in the little tourist town of Esperanza, just a dinghy ride from our anchorage at Sun Bay.
We caught up with Captain Igor and crew, Sylvie, from s/v Vonn Dutch in the town of Dewey, Culebra, SVI
They showed us around this cute town on Isla de Culebra, SVI.
We witnessed the momentous occasion of Vonn Dutch finally acquiring a dinghy after searching for one since George Town, Bahamas!
Mary, captain of s/v Glass Slipper, caught up with us, s/v UNO, and s/v Ally Cat in Dewey after leaving Luperon, Dominican Republic 3 weeks after we did! Way to go Captain Mary, First Mate (aka 13 year old daughter), Colleen, and temporary crew, Cliff!!!
#6 Shared Meals
Sue treated us to a lovely spaghetti meal aboard s/v UNO while we were anchored together at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico.
We celebrated Steve’s 43rd birthday aboard s/v Nancy Lu with an adults-only meal along with s/v Ally Cat our first night anchored in Sun Bay, Vieques, SVI. The kids had a movie night that night on UNO! We’ve had other meals together including a big potluck meal on UNO back in Dewey and a nice ladies-only breakfast on Ally Cat just this morning in Francis Bay, USVI! We missed Sue this morning because she and Steve had taken ALL the kids (Colleen-s/v Glass Slipper, Ally-s/v Ally Cat, and Jacob and Noah-s/v UNO) back to St. Thomas for a movie in an actual theater. This special outing turned an unexpected necessary working boat trip for UNO into a fun sleepover adventure for the kids! This is not the first time that Sue has shown her impressive “fun-mom skills”!
#5 Shared Toys
Steve is pulling Noah on the boogie board while Jacob swings out from a line and jumps on the water trampoline as Ally watches while we were anchored in Green Beach, Vieques SVI! I still haven’t gotten a chance to try out the tramp, but I I hope I can at some point!
Ally let me try out her inflatable paddle board one day at Green Beach, Vieques,SVI! I want one!
The kids had a ball sailing Glass Slipper’s sailing dinghy (not really a toy) all around Cinnamon Bay, St. John USVI! Pictured are brothers, Jacob and Noah from s/v UNO and Colleen from s/v Glass Slipper. Later, 10 year old Ally from s/v Ally Cat took me for a sail. Then it was Mark’s turn to take me for a sail!!
#4 Shared Kids
I enjoyed having Ally come visit one night while her parents went to the town of Dewey on Isla de Culebra, SVI to celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary. She brought her IMPRESSIVE shell collection for me to see, and we had fun doing all kinds of things together! Ally reminds me of my sweet niece, Stella Rae!
I couldn’t resist making my birthday buddy, Ally (her b’day is May 12; mine is May 10), an early birthday present. Kimberly is holding the birthday/friendship stick that I decorated for her from a piece of driftwood that I found in the Bahamas. How’s that for a present that serves absolutely no purpose (except to say “Thank you for being my friend.”)?!
Colleen reminds me of a certain other “little” red-headed spitfire whom I very much !!
#3 Shared Adventures
Since we did not get our dinghy down at our one-day-stop at Cayo Santiago,Puerto Rico aka Monkey Island, Steve and Sue took us for a spin around the anchorage in their dinghy. We saw more than just monkeys!
Later, I went on a dinghy ride with Steve and his dad to get some up-close pictures of the monkeys on Cayo Santiago. Tourists aren’t allowed to go on shore here. Our cruiser’s guide said that there are over 700 monkeys-all Rhesus-on this island. They were brought here in 1939 from India to create a colony in a controlled environment and to be used for scientific experiments. Steve, his dad, and I also did some snorkeling together here; I found a pretty turban shell!
On the night we celebrated Steve’s b’day on Nancy Lu in Sun Bay, Vieques, SVI, we waited until around 9:30 pm to have one of our most exciting adventures. UNO, Ally Cat, and Nancy Lu took our 3 dinghies around a point ( to join SV Catchin Rays), out into the open ocean, through a narrow channel and into Mosquito Bay to experience the famed bioluminescence in the water there! We waited that late so that we would miss all the tour boats and have the bay to ourselves! Once we got into the narrow channel, we turned off our motors and rowed the rest of the way, in keeping with the conservationists wishes. Mark and I had 13 year old Jacob from UNO in our dinghy, and he insisted on doing all of our rowing. This made our trip that much more enjoyable…thanks Jacob!! The further up the channel we got, the more vivid the bioluminescence became. I couldn’t help but sing the Disney song, “A Whole New World”! It was like something from Disney’s Fantasia! I found the above picture on the internet. My camera is not equipped to take pictures like this in the dark, but this is what it looks like! I dove in and made “bioluminescent angels” for everyone to see! The bioluminescence is activated by a tactile disturbance, but if you looked closely, you could see little “stars” sparkling in the still water! While Jacob rowed the dinghy (even that made a light show), I leaned over the bow of the dinghy and stuck my hand in the water with my fingers pointing straight ahead. As the water rushed over and around my hand, it looked like I was wearing a glowing glove! For a second after I would pull a part of my body out of the water, I would have little sparkles left on me. Ally and the other kids had fun making designs with the dinghy lines (ropes). As fish darted by, they were illuminated and left a curvy trail behind them. As we were leaving, we saw a sting ray glide by!! You can goggle to learn about the little microscopic creatures that put on this light show; all the kids in our group studied up on this phenomenon as part of their boat school science…SUPER COOL!!
Mark, Steve, Ally, her dad, Mike, and I enjoyed a hike up to the old lighthouse (oldest in Puerto Rico) on Isla de Culebrita, SVI while Jacob, Colleen, and Noah went to search out a camping site for later that night. Sue accompanied all the kids on this camp-out in tents on the beach, which makes her the winner of “Fun Mom Of the Year” in my opinion!! That night, while the other ladies had a peaceful night on their boats, all the men went over to UNO to join Steve for guy’s movie night! The next morning, Sue even made pancakes on UNO for all the kids—WHAT?!?!
It’s nice to have someone else sharing in the “adventure” of laundry-day in yet another laundromat, with yet another bossy attendant, on yet another island, in yet another country! Mark and I dinghied over to Red Hook, St. Thomas, USVI from Christmas Cove and met Sue and Mary who were already there to do laundry one morning.
On the dinghy ride, after laundry and lunch, back through the harbor at Red Hook, we took a picture of something we never expected to see again. It reminded us of an adventure we had with our kids about FIFTEEN years ago!!!….THIS IS THE SAILBOAT WE CHARTERED ON OUR FIRST TRIP TO THE VIRGIN ISLANDS WITH OUR WHOLE FAMILY YEARS AGO!!!!!!! She was moored there where we last saw her awaiting her next adventure with her next charterers!!!
Yesterday, we went on an uphill hike on St. John, USVI with UNO and Glass Slipper.
We saw beautiful vistas of the bays below
and ruins of a sugar mill that was operational here in colonial times.
#2 Shared Friendships!!
Steve and Sue at Isla Santiago, Puerto Rico
Steve, Noah, Jacob and Sue in Dewey, Culebra, SVI
Michael and Kimberly, s/v Ally Cat at Isla de Culabra, Spanish Virgin Islands
Ally and Kimberly at Flamenco Beach on Culebra, SVI
Steve loves Timmy.
Mark and Steve at Cinnamon Bay, St. John USVI chatting in the water as Mark anchored the dinghy
#1 Shared FUN, FUN, FUN!!
A sign in the town of Dewey that says it all !!!!
For the record—from Nancy Lu’s log book:
April 20 Salinas to Cabo Infierno Pictured: Mark is loving life and his wife !
April 21 Cabo Infierno to Puerto Patillas; Early in the morning we left the anchorage sailing past this barge that creaked eerily during the night sounding as if there was a crew of ghosts working on it—creepy!
April 22 Puerto Patillas to Cayo Santiago; Pictured: we left Puerto Patillas at 5:30 am
April 23 Cayo Santiago to Green Beach, Vieques, Spanish Virgin Islands; Pictured: we left Cayo Santiago at 6:00 am
April 24 Green Beach, Vieques to Sun Bay Vieques; Pictured: Some mornings, I have to do my daily bible reading en route!
April 26 Sun Bay, Isla de Vieques SVI to Dewey, Isla de Culebra, SVI; Pictured: we had a nice down wind sail and flew our spinnaker!
April 29 Dewey, Isla de Culebra to Tortuga Beach, Isla de Culebrita SVI; Pictured: Captain Mark
April 30 Tortuga Beach, Isla Culebrita to Christmas Cove, St. James Island,USVI!!!!!; Pictured: sailing past Sail Rock
May 3 Christmas Cove, St. James Island, USVI to Cinnamon Bay, St. John, USVI; Pictured: WHOOHOO! On the way to St. John on our own boat…A dream come true for Mark!!
May 4 Cinnamon Bay, St. John to Francis Bay, USVI; Pictured: Cinnamon Bay